While each of these offenses has the same fundamental components, there are differences among them. A King Law theft crimes lawyer can help you understand the charges against you and help you with your defense.
Types of Theft Charges in Morganton, North Carolina
The value of the stolen goods is the primary distinguishing factor between petty theft and grand theft. You might be charged with petty theft if you take money or goods worth less than $1,000. Petty theft or a misdemeanor carries a maximum penalty of six months in county prison.
Grand theft involves stolen goods worth more than $1,000. Grand theft could amount to a felony or a misdemeanor charge. The maximum penalty for a felony charge is three years in state jail.
Other specific theft charges include:
Theft by Unlawful Taking
Theft by taking unlawfully is arguably the most general definition of the crime. It occurs when someone illegally exercises control over a property to deprive the owner of that property. It could involve theft in general, such as burglary and pickpocketing.
Theft by Deception
Theft by deception involves situations where one gets property using false information. It may be through misleading information, information concealment, or false impressions. Fraud, a complex crime in itself, overlaps with theft by deceit.
Forgery is also a type of theft in itself, although it is a fraud. It is because counterfeiting money or a representation of money is always considered a second-degree felony. A forgery may include:
- Issuing or signing fake checks on purpose
- Signing a legal document in someone else’s name
- Pretending that illegal money is accepted as payment
- The unauthorized alteration of checks or papers to change information
Forgery can be a very serious crime depending on the circumstances, but an experienced lawyer can help you with the defense of your case.
The law defines extortion as pressing or coercing a person into giving up property to rob them. Some examples of extortion theft include:
- Threats of harm to a person or their property
Individuals may make this allegation in situations where they have been financially exploited.
Retail theft or “shoplifting” belongs in its own category since it involves items sold at a store. It involves taking goods without paying the full or correct price for them.
Knowingly Obtaining Stolen Property
You may have bought a used car only to discover later that it was stolen property. If you ignore the theft and claim you are unaware of it, you may face legal charges later. You could be found guilty of knowingly obtaining stolen items. It is one of the less well-known categories of theft charges.
Receiving, trading, or purchasing stolen goods still counts as theft. Contact a criminal defense attorney in Morganton if you think you might be in such a situation.
As we advance into the digital era, identity theft becomes the theft offense in the public mind. However, not all instances of identity theft include hackers stealing credit card numbers from dubious web forms.
Identity fraud is any scenario where an individual uses another’s identification for improper purposes. Even without hacking or coercion, using items like medical records or a driver’s license to impersonate someone might still result in legal action.
What Must the Prosecution Prove to Convict for Theft?
The prosecutor must show that the accused (defendant) had the particular purpose of committing the crime for the State to establish there was a theft crime. The burden of proof in criminal prosecutions rests with the State, which must use its evidence of guilt to prove clear intent beyond a reasonable doubt.
The most frequent defenses against theft charges are the defendant’s lack of criminal intent or being in the wrong location at the wrong time. Other defenses may include:
Right or Property Ownership Claim
If you can prove that you had a reasonable thought that the thing you took was yours or that you had a legitimate claim to it, you may have a good defense. It’s not as simple as saying you thought it was yours, although it sounds like a straightforward justification. Usually, as a defendant, you will have to offer proof.
If you can prove you were intoxicated at the time of the alleged theft, you could defend against theft accusations. You may not form the necessary intent to steal if you are under the influence of alcohol or any drugs. Therefore you may have a strong intoxication defense.
You would still have to offer evidence, in any case. Also, remember that intoxication in public is a crime in and of itself.
Property Return as a Theft Defense
Returning stolen items doesn’t always offer a defense against a theft accusation. But returning the item can give the prosecutor a better impression of you for a potential plea bargain. You could get lower penalties by returning the stolen goods.
If a defendant can show they intended to return the item when taking it and that they could do so, they might also have a strong defense. You might avoid a theft accusation if you neglect to return anything you borrowed.
Defense by Entrapment
If someone coerced you into committing a crime, you could use entrapment as a defense. If the theft crime entrapment was intended to catch and prosecute you, the entrapment defense might apply to your theft case.
Speak With Experienced Morganton Theft Crime Attorneys at King Law
A theft felony charge leaves a lasting impression on your criminal history. If you are convicted of any form of theft, employers or financial institutions may not hire or partner with you. It would be best to speak with an experienced criminal defense lawyer if you believe you could be facing these charges. Our Morganton criminal defense attorneys at King Law have the tools and resources to provide you with highly-qualified defense.
Please fill out our contact form or call our offices at (888) 748-5464 or (888) 748-KING to arrange a consultation about your case. Our legal team of experienced lawyers is always ready to help you get the defense you need for a fair outcome.